Clinton’s Final “Townterview”

February 1, 2013 By Alex Friedfeld

On January 29, Hillary Clinton held her 59th and final Internet town hall as Secretary of State.  During the event, which was billed as a “townterview,” Secretary Clinton fielded questions posed by young people from all over the world.


In many of her responses, Secretary Clinton emphasized the need for the United States to support regional actors’ efforts to step up and play a more significant role in both local and global affairs.  When it comes to international crises, Clinton advocated for the building of international coalitions and the use of smart power:  “When you do these jobs, you have to understand at the very beginning that you can’t control everything… [the United States tries to] help people be smart about using the tools of American diplomacy and development to join in with others who are facing similar crises as we are.”

For Clinton, the role of the United States in the world is to work with distressed states to build the capabilities and capacities necessary to address their own issues since the fate of the country ultimately lies in its people’s hands.  As she said, “The US wants to be your partner, we want to help you economically and in other ways but we want to create conditions where more countries can achieve the kind of outcomes that will benefit them.”

Another theme from Clinton’s answers was the importance for the United States to encourage openness around the world in politics, economics, and society in order to create the greatest number of opportunities for people.  In particular, she stressed the need for states to tear down gender barriers that still exist for women, saying, “When you put barriers in the way of half of the population, you put brakes on your development as a nation.”

Looking back on her time as Secretary of State, Clinton said that while Benghazi was her biggest regret, she will take away far more positive memories.  Though many people tried to coax an answer from her as to whether she would run in the 2016 Presidential election, Clinton just laughed and said that as of now she is not thinking about the election and is instead planning on catching up on 20 years of missed sleep.